In an era of deepening divides, many companies are witnessing firsthand how contentious social and political issues create workplace conflict and reduce productivity. Building effective teams becomes an even greater challenge when polarization creates tension and hostility among colleagues. Social media and a lack of in-person contact are adding to the challenges companies face. Hot-button issues are increasingly drawing business into controversy. These societal rifts affect the health of our civic institutions and the communities where businesses operate.
This is why we support re-introduction of the bipartisan Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA), which supports initiatives to help reduce polarization and heal America’s current social and political divides. The act calls for a new Office of Civic Bridgebuilding to be created within AmeriCorps that would help communities build relationships across lines of difference. Comprised of local leaders, nonprofits, businesses, and philanthropic partners, AmeriCorps would focus on four key activities:
Introduced by Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) in partnership with Representative Andy Barr (R-KY), the legislation currently enjoys equal bipartisan support with 12 Republican and 12 Democrat co-sponsors. The House bill will likely be introduced after Labor Day in the Education and Labor Committee. In the Senate, Senator Coons (D-DE) is working to secure a Republican co-sponsor to introduce a companion bill in the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee. We applaud the legislation’s focus on locally-based solutions where businesses can play a key role.
“Toxic polarization among Americans is not only a threat to our social fabric and system of government; it is a threat to our economic stability. Companies have much to gain from reversing the increasing divisions tearing our country apart, and this legislation could be one key solution,” said Sarah Bonk, founder and CEO of Business for America.
Please contact BFA National Policy Director Richard Eidlin for more information about how your company can support the Building Civic Bridges Act.